The National Association of Theatre Owners has released 2017’s official average ticket price: $8.97, up close to 4% over 2016’s $8.65 and a new record high.
NATO’s ticket price is an average of all theater price points including senior citizen and primetime weekend evening shows.
NATO is calling the annual box office of $11.09 billion (-2.55%) from last year and by dividing that figure by their average ticket price we come to an admissions count of 1.236 billion, which is -6% according to their records last year. Note, every single theater tabulates their admissions in the United States, so NATO’s figure is an estimate. The top three theater chains AMC, Regal and Cinemark combined clicked 454.5 million people in attendance from Jan.-Sept. of this year, which is ahead of the same period last year of 449.7M, and that’s before we even add in the foot traffic from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: Ragnarock.
However, per NATO stats, a record Q1 in box office and admissions was offset by a disappointing summer no thanks to franchise fatique. And we’re not talking new ones like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and a rebooted Spider-Man: Homecoming, but Pirates 5 and Alien: Covenant. Per NATO, summer 2017 was 92M admissions short of summer 2016. An unusually empty August accounted for half of summer 2017’s shortfall. Q4 2017 was nearly equal to Q4 2016, with 315M tickets sold compared to 319M.
In the fourth quarter, the ticket price was at $9.18 which helped push the year’s average up. Q4 saw an abundance of sales in films offered in 3D and large format screens (all of the five highest-grossing films and seven of the top 12), as well as a large number of adult-skewing awards-contending films.
Over the last 10 years, annual admissions increased 4 times, decreased 5 times and was even with the previous year once.